Life and Death: Twilight Reimagined
By Stephenie Meyer
Summary: WHEN BEAUFORT SWAN MOVES TO THE gloomy town of Forks and meets the mysterious, alluring Edythe Cullen, his life takes a thrilling and terrifying turn. With her porcelain skin, golden eyes, mesmerizing voice, and supernatural gifts, Edythe is both irresistible and enigmatic.
WHAT BEAU DOESN’T REALIZE IS THE closer he gets to her, the more he is putting himself and those around him at risk. And, it might be too late to turn back…
IN CELEBRATION OF THE TENTH ANNIVERSARY of Twilight, Stephenie Meyer has crafted Life and Death, a bold and compelling reimagining of the iconic love story that will surprise and enthrall readers. This special dual edition includes a foreword by the author as well as the complete original novel. Turn this book over to read Twilight.
Source: I borrowed a kindle copy from my local library
Add to Goodreads
Curiosity got the best of me and I finally decided to pick this up. I have always liked Twilight, though I’m not one of those fans who think it’s not without its flaws. I frequently defend Bella because I think she was a certain way because of her personality in general and wasn’t meant to be a symbol for all girls everywhere to submit to a creepy man with abusive tendencies. I think people read way too much into things to be honest and Bella has her own strengths. I don’t feel like it’s that awful to find out who you are at the same time you meet someone you can’t live without and I don’t think the book pushes that, but I also believe that teens are NOT idiots and can read a romance without mimicking it, so there’s no real harm, but that’s an argument I’ve made before in greater detail so I’m moving on.
Anyway, the idea of gender swapping the characters appealed to me because I wanted to see Meyer make her case that the story can work without Bella being a doormat that “sets women back” or symbolizes an unhealthy girl stuck in gender roles that will make teen girls also become doormats. Because I defend Bella as a character, I wanted Meyer to prove to me that it CAN work the other way around.
I do feel that some things worked by switching genders and I feel like Meyer successfully presented the situation. I hope she stops getting so much flack for “ruining feminism” or YA romance or whatever the heck people tend to accuse her of doing to women that’s so wrong by creating Bella’s character.
Beau worked really well as a guy who fell for a vampire girl and took care of the cooking in his household because he enjoyed it and not because he was a girl and her place was in the kitchen. I totally believed that I was reading a character who was supposed to be guy, even with the occasional internal monologues and awkwardness. I never imagined Bella as a guy, but it worked for me in this book in a way I didn’t expect. Edythe as the girl version of Edward also worked really well, surprisingly! I thought it would be tough with her super strength and protective tendencies which I’ve always associated more with male characters who are supposed to be dangerous, but it worked perfectly with her being a female vampire. She was a little eerie, but I could see how Beau would be drawn to that. In some ways, I feel like I liked Edythe better than Edward because she was so strong and quiet and totally badass and creepy in a more believable vampire way. Like I never believed Edward was dangerous, but Edythe? She might snap at any time and I believed her more when she kept trying to push Beau away for some reason. While I prefer Bella and Edward, I was down to root for Beau and Edythe.
So why did I rate this 3 stars?
THE NAMES. OH GOD, THE NAMES. I feel like the author wrote this with the sole intention to prove that Renesmee was an amazing name and she could do a lot worse… by pulling out some of the most awful names ever. BEAU? EDYTHE? JESSAMINE? ROYAL?! EARNEST? ARCHIE? (In place of Bella, Edward, Jasper, Rosalie, Esme, Alice.) Omg. Ugh, can we just stop? Seriously, it was so off putting that I couldn’t even really picture the side characters anymore and just wanted to gag at the horrendous name swaps. UGH.
Which brings me to my next point…
I don’t feel like EVERYONE had to be gender swapped. It would’ve worked just as well had everyone except Bella and Edward swapped. She could’ve swapped Jacob just for the potential love triangle, but that’s seriously it. She could’ve had Jessica want to get with Beau instead of swapped every friend and Cullen in the entire book aside from Renee and Charlie. There really wasn’t a need to swap everyone and it just made it that much harder to get through the book. Not only was I reading awful names, but I was trying to match them up with whoever they were supposed to be and it distracted me from the main characters: Beau and Edythe. I would’ve preferred familiar characters with just the two characters swapping genders.
It wasn’t the best book and sort of redundant up until the end, so I can’t really give it much more than 3 stars to be fair, but I’m still glad I read it. I know fans wanted Midnight Sun and there’s another set up fans ready to riot over the lack of sequels to The Host, but I respected Meyer’s decision to write this and send the message that it can be done. And as much as I would’ve preferred maybe a different vampire romance with a human guy and vampire girl, the fact that’s is a complete gender swap does give it a certain OOMPH that shouts to the world that Bella can be a guy in the same exact story that is almost verbatim and it still works. So, there.